As far as ecommerce goes, there is no denying that it has grown significantly over the last few years. The trajectory was going up by itself, but the recent pandemic made online shopper numbers spike even higher.
Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent advantages and disadvantages of ecommerce to get a better idea of what it is about.
#1 – Product Variety
One of the best things about shopping online is that you have access to a plethora of different goods and services.
It also helps when there are stores that let shoppers customize some products. For example, if you want to purchase custom merchandise, such as all-over-print hoodies or t-shirts, there is no need to browse just through what is available already. Many stores offer customization options.
International shipping helps with the product variety as well. If something is not available locally, you can usually get it delivered from abroad.
Finally, because ecommerce is growing so much, more and more stores are popping up, which increases the availability even further.
#2 – Privacy
Shopping online has the privacy factor, which is often underrated by most people. Imagine someone trying to purchase a gift and making it a surprise. Going to a physical retail store might result in another person seeing you and spoiling the surprise.
Meanwhile, online shopping eliminates the problem of others finding out about your shopping. You can even go as far as deleting your browser history as an extra precaution and arrange for the delivery so that only you can pick it up.
#3 – 24/7 Availability
So long as an ecommerce site is up, you can do your shopping 24/7 and not just on the desktop but on mobile devices as well.
Modern websites are optimized for smartphones and tablets. Even if you are traveling, you can still browse the stores and order goods so long as you have access to an Internet connection.
One could argue that 24/7 physical retail stores are also a thing, but they are far too few to be considered common.
#4 – Convenience
Continuing with the point about 24/7 availability and other mentioned aspects, it all comes down to the fact that shopping online is convenient.
In addition to the benefits we covered, you do not have to worry about standing in a queue. There is no need to deal with pushy stuff. Deliveries are arranged in a way that the time and location are convenient for you.
#1 – Cybersecurity Threats
From a consumer’s point of view, there are very few disadvantages, and even those are rather insignificant.
It is a bit different when talking about the business itself. One of the biggest concerns and annoyances is constant cybersecurity threats. Even if a store is not targeted specifically, it still receives random DDoS attacks, for example.
Businesses also have to be careful about managing customer details. There have been plenty of stories about companies that leaked customer data, which led to ruined reputations, lawsuits, and other troubles.
#2 – Competition
Running an ecommerce business also means going up against fierce competition. Even relatively narrow niches have competition, and it can take a while to establish a presence in markets that are not that saturated.
Having to spend resources to create successful marketing campaigns is also a problem. There are times when you end up picking the wrong method and wasting your money.
It is not like you can simply get rid of competition, either. If you are lucky, other businesses might struggle now and then, giving you an advantage. Overall, though, it is a constant battle trying to work out new methods and rise above your competition.
#3 – Delivery Problems
Now and then, shoppers might run into delivery problems. Delays, damaged goods, and wrong orders are some of the most common examples.
Depending on how important the delivery is, your annoyance level will vary. For instance, if you expect a last-minute Christmas present and fail to get that, it is to be expected that you will feel furious. On the other hand, a relatively minor delivery should not be too big of a deal, especially if you are in no rush to receive it.
#4 – Lack of Personal Experience
The inability to try the goods in person is what is often considered the worst thing about shopping online. At times, you cannot predict what you will get, particularly with certain types of goods.
Clothes are a great example. You need to try them on before, but the temptation to purchase new shoes or a jacket online for a low price often wins even if you are not confident in the size you are getting.
Returns and refunds exist for such cases, but it is still bothersome to deal with those, even if they happen rarely.